Via The Great Ocean Road route.
ith the treasured sightings of the waddling fairy penguins at the Phillip Island fresh in our minds we set off on another memorable guided tour on the world-famous Great Ocean Road from Melbourne to the 12 Apostles situated near the Port Campbell National Park.
We started the 12 Apostles tour around 8 am and as soon as tourists from all over the world were comfortably seated in the bus our friendly driver and guide took to the wheel and we were soon passing through Southbank and over the Westgate Bridge leaving Melbourne city, Port Phillip Bay and passing through Geelong towards the coast.
While we were just about taking in what the driver was saying about our tour and the history of the Great Ocean Road, we reached Torquay – Australia’s surfing capital with branded surf-wear and the worldfamous Bells Beach about 22 kms south of Geelong. Our excitement grew when we learnt that Torquay is famous for being the official start of the Great Ocean Road.
Our chatty guide told us that the Great Ocean Road was built as a war memorial between 1919 and 1932 by war veterans in memory of those who never returned from World War 1. It is the largest war memorial that stretches 243 kms from Torquay to Allansford near Warrnambool on the south-eastern coast of Australia.
We halted at Torquay and the world-famous surfers’ Bells Beach
to take photographs of the scenic splendour around us – the fascinating surf beach with pockets of dense vegetation with steep cliffs all around. The Bells Beach is famous for the Rip Curl pro-surfing competition held here every year.
Our first big stop was at Angelsea, a popular seaside town about 10 minutes from Bells Beach where we stopped for Bush-billy tea, sandwiches vegemite with crackers and Lamington cakes! We had several sightings of the Australian Eastern grey kangaroos and their joeys as they hopped on the fairways of the local golf course.
After the refreshing tea break we drove through Aireys Inlet, a coastal town that boasts the 1891-built Split Point Lighthouse standing tall at 34 metres, towering over its beautiful coastline and the Eagle Rock Marine
We continued our drive from Aireys Inlet and shortly we reached the Eastern View of the Memorial Arch – a prominent landmark. Memorial Arch has history written all over it and we tried to imagine the time when this great manual feat must have started – with only the axe, shovel and wheel barrow! The bronze Diggers sculpture here says it all!
Having had our fill of photographs at this historical landmark we continued on our journey soaking in the breathtaking views of the turquoise blue-green ocean, its waves topped with snowy-white surf lapping the cliffs in full force, of the spent waves rolling back on the sandy beaches lined by rainforests, of pretty houses perched on the hilltops, small coastal towns and the white clouds sailing above them. The drive through these picturesque seaside towns like Lorne and the Erskine Falls is to see nature at its prettiest!
Adding to this serene and peaceful canvas at the Kennet River Park were the most colourful of all – the Australian feathered friends! The park is full of sulphur-crested cockatoos and a number of different species of rosellas in beautiful shades of red, blue, green, yellow – and the King Parrots! The
THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD WAS BUILT AS A WAR MEMORIAL BETWEEN 1919 AND 1932 BY WAR VETERANS IN MEMORY OF THOSE WHO NEVER RETURNED FROM WORLD WAR 1. IT IS THE LARGEST WAR MEMORIAL THAT STRETCHES 243 KMS FROM TORQUAY TO ALLANSFORD NEAR WARRNAMBOOL ON THE SOUTH-EASTERN COAST OF AUSTRALIA. PROMINENCE